Apple Unveils 7.9-Inch iPad Mini

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined
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Apple finally takes the wraps of its new, smaller tablet

Apple has unveiled two new tablets at an event in California – the widely expected iPad Mini and a new fourth generation iPad.

The iPad Mini boasts a smaller 7.9-inch display, but Apple claims that the new addition to its tablet range is “every inch an iPad”, with pre-orders starting on Friday.

Apple promises that the technology inside is equal or better than that of the iPad 2 and that the new tablet boasts the same resolution as its bigger brother, meaning that it is compatible with all existing native iPad applications.

iPad Mini Revealed

It is just 7.2mm thick and is powered by a dual-core A5-chip, has a FaceTime HD camera and five megapixel iSight rear camera, and features optional support for 4G LTE networks. EE’s new 4G service has been confirmed as one of the supported carriers, but no other UK operators were mentioned.

The launch of the device is generally seen as a reaction to the popularity of rival seven-inch tablets from Amazon and Google, but Apple justified the inclusion of a larger screen by claiming that it actually offered 35 percent more screen size than the Google Nexus 7.

This, it explained, made it more suitable for browsing the web – still the most popular use for a tablet. Sir Jonathan Ives said that Apple wanted to make something unique, rather than a downsized iPad, as otherwise people would only notice what was missing.

However in addition to boasting a larger screen, the iPad Mini also boasts a larger price tag than its competitors. An entry-level 16GB Wi-Fi only model will cost £269, while an LET-compatible model is priced at £369. The device is also available in 32GB and 64GB varieties, costing an additional £100 and £200 respectively. The Wi-Fi only model will be delivered on 2 November with the cellular version arriving at some point later in the month.

Too expensive?

“A killer price point would certainly have put the cat amongst the pigeons in the tablet space,” commented Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at “Initially rumoured to be around the £200 mark, it turns out people will have to pay £269 for the cheapest version of the iPad mini. Will they pay it? Given the plus points of a burgeoning App Store and intuitive and now familiar interface, all wrapped up in a novel form factor, I think so.”

“The iPad mini is definitely a tablet on the attack, and it could clean up as the gift to get in the run-up to Christmas,” he added. “Apple detractors may say that the iPad mini is the latest in a long line of reactionary rather than revolutionary products in the post-Jobs era, which is why we’ve now got a longer phone and a smaller tablet. While these tactics are arguably not akin to the Apple of old, this move will allow the tech giant to go toe-to-toe in the lucrative smaller tablet market – with the iPad mini guaranteed to make a mint.”

Apple also revealed a fourth-generation iPad, only a few months after it showed off the third iteration of its flagship iPad. The new tablet is described as a “powerhouse”, offering two times the performance of its predecessor, thanks to its new A6X processor.. Prices for the new full-sized iPad will start at £399.

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